The name Catawba means “river people”. Their own name was; Iyeye (people) or Nieye (real people) and the Spanish referred to them as the Iswa
Early on, the Catawba were practitioners of a flathead people. A process where the infant was placed in a cradle with a board hinged to the top of the cradle. The baby’s head was then placed under the board where pressure was applied for an extended period of time with the objective of flattening the baby’s forehead. As a warrior, this flat forehead along with their distinctive tradition of painting a black circle around one eye, a white circle around the other with the remainder of the face painted black made for a frightful sight to their enemies.
Up until the 1650’s the Catawba were in constant conflict with their neighbors, the Cherokee nation and the Delaware. In 1660’s the refugee Shawnee, escaping the invading Iroquois, were invited by the Cherokee to move into their northern boundary to act as a buffer between the Cherokee Nation and their enemy the Catawba. Ignoring the fact that the Shawnee had moved to the Cherokee lands, the Iroquois nation continued to pursue and harass the Shawnee. As the Iroquois passed south through the